The slow adoption of improvement innovations is a persistent challenge to high-quality and safe patient care. This newspaper article raises concerns about how common treatments are recommended despite insufficient evidence regarding their effectiveness and provides examples of how this problem can result in harm, such as the previous physician belief that opioids were not addictive. Reassessment of science can improve safety and reduce the unintended consequences of ineffective treatments.
Missed or delayed diagnoses lead to delays in care and significant preventable harm for patients. Despite an increasing focus on diagnostic error, accurate measurement and implementation of effective strategies for mitigating its adverse effects remain challenging. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation recently announced a new $85 million initiative focused on diagnostic excellence that takes into account health care costs, timeliness, and individual patient needs. This initiative will focus on three clinical areas including cancer, infections, and cardiovascular events. Through this funding, the foundation hopes to stimulate novel approaches to measuring diagnostic performance and plans to assess the effectiveness of new technologies in improving the diagnostic process. A PSNet perspective highlighted ongoing challenges related to diagnostic error.
Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.
Overdiagnosis and the subsequent overuse of medical care contributes to unnecessary financial, psychological, and physical risk to patients. This research collaborative draws from expertise and experience from organizations in Australia investigating the problem of overdiagnosis and testing solutions to prevent medical care overuse.
Jalal H, Buchanich JM, Roberts MS, et al. Science (1979). 2018;361.
Opioid overdose deaths remain a threat to patient safety. Information about how overdose deaths are nationally distributed is critical to inform prevention efforts. This robust analysis examined all drug overdose deaths in the United States over a 38-year period. Drug overdoses began increasing exponentially long before the opioid prescribing boom in the mid-1990s and continue to rise in this way. Demographically distinct subepidemics of prescription opioid, synthetic opioid, and stimulant use all contribute to drug overdose deaths as a whole. The authors speculate about what factors other than opioid prescribing might drive escalating substance use-related deaths. An Annual Perspective and a PSNet perspective provide further insights into how safety efforts can reduce opioid-related harm.
National Academy of Sciences; National Academy of Medicine; IOM; NAS.
In recognition of the 15th anniversaries since To Err Is Human and Crossing the Quality Chasm were published, this symposium discussed accomplishments and persisting challenges in the fields of patient safety and quality improvement since those reports were released. The session featured Dr. Donald Berwick, Dr. Lucian Leape, and Carolyn Clancy as speakers.
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